Given the University of Akron men’s basketball team's recent struggles offensively, perhaps the tie at halftime should not have been much of a surprise.

The Zips went into their game Saturday against Miami University not having scored more than 60 points a game in their past two efforts. They broke that number, but it did little good.

As the Mid-American Conference portion of the schedule progresses, what’s become clearer is the Zips will indeed have to rely on defense to claim victories, and quickly. UA (10-8, 2-3 MAC) couldn't keep up in the second half of a 68-61 loss to the RedHawks at Millett Hall in Oxford.

The RedHawks (9-9, 1-4), a team that began the day winless in the MAC, used a 19-2 run to take a 55-45 lead and control of the game 55-45 with 5:48 to go.

UA’s Tyler Cheese led all scorers with 17 points and added eight rebounds. Point guard Loren Cristian Jackson added 13 points and an assist.

Darrian Ringo led the RedHawks with 16 points, nine assists and added five rebounds.

Miami shot 44 percent for the game (24-of-55) and held the Zips to 24-of-61 shooting (39 percent). The glaring hole in the Zips' offensive game has been 3-point shooting. It was again more of an albatross than an asset against the RedHawks. The Zips made just 6-of-26 (23 percent) from behind the 3-point arc.

Led by Bam Bowman’s eight rebounds, the RedHawks crushed the Zips on the glass 43-31, including a 13-8 edge in offensive rebounds.

UA also suffered because of a lack of bench scoring. UA reserves scored just four points to Miami’s 23 in the game.

The Zips have dropped three of their past four games and will return home Tuesday to face Central Michigan, a team they lost to by two points in overtime in the conference opener Jan. 8.


George M. Thomas can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at